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    Migrant centre next to Nato headquarter stays open over summer

    © Belga

    A centre for trans-migrants maintained by volunteers in Haren in the north of Brussels-City commune will be able to keep operating until at least August, after the city agreed funding of 360,000 euros.

    The centre occupies an office building behind the Decathlon store close to the new Nato headquarters, and offers a place to sleep for 350 migrants, as well as two meals a day prepared by volunteers using produce donated by local traders and supermarkets.

    The so-called Ulysses Gate centre opened in December 2017 to offer shelter to migrants camped out in the Maximilien Park by the Brussels North station. The Brussels-City commune, which includes Haren, made the office building available, and takes care of the rest and maintenance. The rest of the services are provided by volunteers.

    The grant was agreed by the Brussels region earlier this month, but the head of the platform for refugees that runs the centre warned this week that until the payment was realised, the work of the centre remained in danger. Now the city of Brussels has agreed to stand guarantor for the 360,000 euros, the work of the centre is assured until the end of August.

    The centre employs some 25 full-time employees to run the service, with many more people working for free in the shelter and in the kitchen, which serves a lunch and evening meal for 350 migrants every day of the week.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times